The launch of the Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018 programme in Soweto

Today the Nelson Mandela Foundation unveiled "Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018 Be the Legacy", a two-year programme to honour its founder, Nelson Mandela. Madiba would have turned 100 years old in 2018.

At a public launch held at the Donaldson Orlando Community Centre (now called YMCA), the Foundation launched a logo that will, going forward, be the symbol of all the Nelson Mandela centenary activities.

Foundation Trustee Tokyo Sexwale paid tribute to Oliver Tambo, who would have turned 100 this year. “There is no Nelson Mandela without Oliver Tambo,” said Sexwale to a thunderous applause.

“Tambo and Mandela were best of friends since they were 12- and 13-year-old boys; it is fitting that we mark their centenary years in this way,” added Sexwale.

The launch of the centenary programme takes place during the Nelson Mandela release week, which started on Saturday 11 February 2017.  Today, 13 February, marks the day Mandela addressed, for the first time, the masses of Soweto at Orlando Stadium in 1990.

The programme will see the roll-out of a number of activities in 2017, both here and abroad, ranging from education and the arts to exhibitions and sports.

Foundation Chief Executive Sello Hatang said the centenary programme must inspire a values-based society. The Foundation wants the values of integrity, passion, respect, service, transformation and transparency to be the pillars of society. “These are the values we as the Foundation live by and we should transfer [them] to our daily lives if we are to make a meaningful contribution to society,” said Hatang.

A book project called Letters to Madiba, in which primary school children are invited to submit their letters to Nelson Mandela throughout the year, was also announced at the event. The book will be published in 2018.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performed a collection of songs from an upcoming project that will tell the historic story of Soweto through song.